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Marion Police hosted documentary and discussion on community collaboration
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · May 18th, 2017

The Marion Police Department hosted a special presentation on Wednesday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Linn-Mar High School lecture hall. The topic of the event was police and community collaboration.

At the beginning of the presentation, a pilot screening was presented showing the feature documentary, 'Uncommon Allies," which gives a glimpse into the struggles of Kansas City as it was dealing with high crime and homicides. The film showed a need to adapt police strategies to improve community relations.

The story is about Rosilyn Temple whose son was murdered. While going through the grief and devastation of her son's death, she went on a personal search for justice. This eventually turned into a life-changing community call to action.

Temple made the trip to Marion to be present at the pilot screening, and one of her friends who also lost a son, Latrice Murray, accompanied her. The creator of the

documentary, Jon Brick, was present as well and talked about how Temple's work touched him and made him determined to portray the story.

Among other things, Temple began an organization called Mothers in Charge and set about to work with police and families to quell the violence and high crime in some of Kansas City's worst neighborhoods. Marion's Police Chief Joseph McHale was on the Kansas City police force at the time.

McHale said, "Rosilyn is part of an exclusive group whose members have all lost children to homicide. While she and others continue the fight against homicide and gun violence in their community, we can learn from their powerful example about the importance of fostering two-way relationships and have a meaningful conversation about how it translates to Marion and the region."

The film, indeed, was powerful. It showed how the women worked face-to-face with members of the police department and how officers went into the neighborhoods and met with children, played with them a bit, talked to them about their lives, and contributed to a two-way dialog between families and officials.

The women went with courage to support the families of victims when homicides happened and also worked with police officers. At one point, Rosilyn went to one memorial service and immediately afterward was called to where a homicide had just occurred. She and her group did whatever they could to help the bereaved families.

After the film, a panel composed of the Kansas City group and local leaders fielded questions from two students representing the Linn-Mar Accountability Leadership and Opportunity (ALO) organization.

Among the topics under discussion were communication, the importance of coming together, and figuring out how to work together with mutual respect.

One of the key points made was that when there is friction between groups, it has not just one but many different dimensions. The more people talk, explain and come to understand the "why" in any situation, the more likely they can work together and find a positive solution.

McHale referred us to a website about a group called NoVO, standing for "no more violence." Through data analysis, it is possible to figure out areas and people who are likely to become involved in violent behavior as kids grow up.

The organization has what it terms a "call-in," usually held at a church and with a meal. Those who have been in trouble and are on the edge of getting into very serious trouble are given a choice to change their lives for the better, with help from social services and other agencies.

The last major point at Wednesday evening's meeting was that each person has a purpose on this earth and each person has abilities and skills. They will be happier if they seek what their purpose might be and use their skills and abilities to achieve it.

Refreshments were provided after the meeting, and Temple and Murray were given bouquets of flowers.

Among those who attended were members of the Linn-Mar school board, the Marion city council, members of both the Marion and Cedar Rapids police departments, and a number of interested citizens.

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